Shrinking Waterbodies in J&K


Shrinking waterbodies in J&K
News Kashmir Analysis
Rivers are life. They are the basic resources for existence of life on this planet by providing critical drinking water .
No life is possible without rivers. Rivers are the backbone of human civilization! They provide us with freshwater which is helpful for various purposes such as cleaning, washing, drinking etc. Without rivers, life will just come to halt. Rivers just keep on flowing without any stop.
In our country India too rivers have utmost importance. The rivers in India play an important role in the lives of its people. They provide potable water, cheap transportation, electricity, and the livelihood for many people nationwide. This easily explains why nearly all the major cities of India are located by the banks of rivers.
Jammu and Kashmir has many lakes, rivers, and glaciers. Significant rivers that flow through Jammu & Kashmir from the Himalayas are Jhelum, Chenab and Ravi.These river basins are located at a higher elevation facilitating huge hydro power potential. Major lakes include Manasbal Lake, Dal Lake, Wular Lake, Nageen Lake. There are around 1230 water bodies in Jammu & Kashmir.
Shrinking rivers on account of encroachments, pollution and increasing construction along with climate changes are a global concern including in Jammu and Kashmir.
As climate change threatens the world and parts of world  suffer from one of the worst bouts of drought, a new study shows that not just rivers, but lakes are also shrinking fast. More than half of the world’s large lakes and reservoirs have shrunk since the early 1990s as alarm bells ring across.
Nearly 2 billion people, who live in a drying lake basin, are directly affected and many regions have faced shortages in recent years.
Shrinking water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir especially in Kashmir is a matter of concern. Many lakes have shrunk due to human greed along with rivers .
The dry weather is complicating matters as rivers are at all time low level.Out of the forty days of hard winter locally called Chillai Kalan, 27 have already passed without snow, compelling experts, environmentalists, and officials to ring alarm bells.
No snowfall means ominous sign for waterbodies in Kashmir.
only Gulmarg but Pahalgam, Srinagar and other areas in the valley too have not yet received snowfall this winter. Only areas in the extreme higher reaches recorded minimum snowfall so far.
Wetlands too are shrinking . As experts term them referred to as nature’s kidneys, have shrunk in size in the last five decades and are on the brink of extinction.
Dal Lake has suffered a similar fate in response to land cover change. Researchers in Srinagar found that land conversion to urban development in the basin had worsened the lake’s water quality and contributed to its reduced size. They found that between 1980 and 2018 the lake’s open water shrunk in area by 25 percent.
The water level in the Jhelum River has hit the lowest due to a prolonged dry spell in Kashmir, officials said here on Sunday.
“River Jhelum was flowing at -0.75 feet at Sangam (Anantnag district) and -0.86 feet at Asham (Bandipora district) on Sunday, 14 January, 2024 morning. This is the lowest water level in the river,” the officials said.
It had dropped to this level at Sangam in November 2017, they said.
The shrinking of waterbodies in Jammu and Kashmir is a serious matter of concern for which both masses and government needs to find solutions.